First, I want to thank everyone who takes the time to post in the student lounge. This site is a tremendous resource for anyone thinking about a planning career. So I am hoping to gain some additional insight from people already working in the field or who have enrolled/graduated from a graduate planning program.
I will graduate in December 2011 from Northwestern with a hybrid MPA degree (it's tecnhically, an MPPA, master of arts in public policy and administration). My specialization in this program is urban policy and administration. The specialization component only consists of 4 classes, which I hardly think qualifies me for a professional planning job. Thus, I am thinking about an MUP program as my next step. Do you think this would be worthwhile, or only redundant? I am writing my thesis on the fiscalization of land use. My primary planning interests are land use and municipal budgeting, but I think I would use the MUP to gain knowledge in physical planning since I already have some level of policy experience from my first degree.
Last qualification: I have zero professional planning experience, so I want to build connections in the planning community and need internship/professional experience as well. My biggest challenge is that I have a decent job and don't want to look for a new job until I am actually marketable. My MPPA program has been part-time, and I would apply for a part-time MUP program at UIC if I go this route.
If anyone has any advice or thoughts, your input would be most appreciated...thank you!!!